Facebook has filed a lawsuit against two app developers based in Hong Kong and Singapore for engaging in what the social media giant says is click injection fraud.
In a blog post, Jessica Romero, director of platform enforcement and litigation at Facebook said developers LionMobi based in Hong Kong and JediMobi headquartered in Singapore made apps for the Google Play store that infected users smartphones with malware.
“The malware created fake user clicks on Facebook ads that appeared on the users’ phones, giving the impression that the users had clicked on the ads,” wrote Romero.
According to Facebook, the lawsuit is a “first of its kind against this practice.
Facebook said that LionMobi and JediMobi generated unearned payouts for misrepresenting that a real person had clicked on the ads on Facebook’s Audience Network. LionMobi also advertised its malicious apps on Facebook, “in violation of our Advertising Policies.”
Apps showing millions of installs from both developers could no longer be found on the Google Play Store as of Wednesday when they were banned.
Both LionMobi and JediMobi have been banned by Facebook and their accounts have been disabled.
The company added that all impacted advertisers were refunded in March 2019.